music review

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Donald Glover's 'America' Video Is Packed With Meaning

One critic calls it a perfect, disturbing 'snapshot of the American cultural landscape'

(Newser) - You'll have to watch it more than once to pick up on everything going on, especially in the background. That's one common take in the wake of the newly released "This Is America" music video by actor Donald Glover, though under his musical alias, Childish Gambino. See... More »

Bowie's Comeback an 'Absolute Wonder'

'The Next Day' earns widespread praise

(Newser) - David Bowie's latest album—marking his return after a decade—seems to be living up to the anticipation. Sure, it's not 1970s Bowie, but critics are loving the 66-year-old's The Next Day:
  • It "may be the greatest comeback album ever," writes Andy Gill in a
... More »

Madonna Gets Personal on MDNA

Reviews of new album surprised by candor about Guy Ritchie divorce

(Newser) - Madonna is back. Her latest album MDNA, is at once a confessional look at her divorce from Guy Ritchie and a bouncy dance album. Critical reaction is divided pretty starkly as well. Here's some of what people are saying:
  • "It’s a bipolar collection that pumps out effervescent
... More »

Surprise: Britney's New Album Is Innovative

Though she probably had little to do with its edginess, critics say

(Newser) - Britney Spears’ new record is actually pretty innovative for a pop album—though Britney herself may have little to do with that.
  • Femme Fatale is “the rare dance-pop album that never flags, each track preposterously overstuffed with hooks and sensations,” writes Jody Rosen in Slate . Spears is “
... More »

Lady Gaga's New Single Sounds Like...

...Madonna, say many, but critics still mostly impressed

(Newser) - Lady Gaga’s new single is here (click here to listen), and, shockingly, the Guardian notes, the throngs of people freaking out over it has not yet broken the Internet. Early reactions:
  • It sounds "a lot like Madonna’s 'Express Yourself,'" writes Michael Cragg for the Guardian . “
... More »

Kanye's Latest Is Album of the Year

'My Beautiful Dark Twisted Fantasy ' is also the rapper's best effort yet

(Newser) - Kanye West is officially back: "My Beautiful Dark Twisted Fantasy is the best album of 2010 and the best album of West's career," asserts Jonah Weiner on Slate . The rapper, always unable to keep quiet about things he finds unjust, has "managed to channel his sense of... More »

10 Best Albums Of 2010

This year has been a bummer, but the music's good

(Newser) - As the first half of 2010 draws to a close, James Montgomery lists his 10 favorite albums of the year—so far—for MTV :
  • Kate Nash: “My Best Friend Is You represents Kate Nash at her most scattershot, squeaky and downright smart,” he writes. She’s made “
... More »

Frances Bean Cobain Makes 'Eccentric' Singing Debut

Teen lends her voice to 'power ballad' with other 'random' singers

(Newser) - Frances Bean Cobain made her musical debut yesterday—albeit in cameo form—with the release of Evelyn Evelyn. “She’s got a great voice,” says Amanda Palmer, who put together the concept album with Jason Webley. The 17-year-old is featured on the track “My Space” along with... More »

New Hendrix Disc the Real Deal

Don't expect new musical frontiers, but the Experience still sounds great

(Newser) - At long last, the rights to Jimi Hendrix’s music have been settled, and tomorrow we’re getting our first blast of never-before-heard psychedelic rock with Valleys of Neptune. Does it satisfy? The critics weigh in:
  • Most posthumous Hendrix releases have been “exploitive scraps,” writes Greg Kot of
... More »

Ayla Brown's Music Video Debuts, 'Cloying Vanilla Pop'

The video for 'Pick It Up' features, mostly, a distraught-looking Brown

(Newser) - Not surprisingly, Ayla Brown’s EP was released Tuesday, a mere week after dad Scott Brown won Ted Kennedy’s Senate seat—and months ahead of its original April release. The songs emulate “that cloying strand of '90s soft-pop that emulated '80s soft-pop,” writes Chris Richards for the... More »

Animal Collective Doesn't Care About Cool

Band fearless as ever on Fall Be Kind EP

(Newser) - Merriweather Post Pavilion made Animal Collective one of the most hyped bands of 2009, but the follow-up Fall Be Kind EP sounds almost aggressively unconcerned with indie cred. The first song includes a flute solo from Zamfir, one of those ubiquitous infomercial pan-flute players, while a later track samples the... More »

Lady Gaga's Fame Monster Eccentric, Fun

The reissue includes, among other things, a lock of her hair

(Newser) - Lady Gaga isn’t your typical pop star, and The Fame Monster isn’t your typical reissue. Critics agree that the deluxe version of 2008's The Fame may not be highly original, but it is a lot of fun:
  • “She’s bringing eccentric couture to the masses and is
... More »

Rihanna's Rated R a Dark Treat

Singer channels tumultuous year into great music

(Newser) - Rihanna's been through a lot since she released her last album, and the excellent Rated R is all the better for it, writes Greg Kot. After the much-publicized Chris Brown incident, her music has become darker and more serious than the airy pop of "Umbrella" and "SOS."... More »

Wake Up: Radiohead Kinda Sucks

Thom Yorke doesn't care if you like him, and honestly, you shouldn't

(Newser) - We all listen to them, grin plastered on our face, blocking out “that guilty nagging feeling that actually, in some ways, when you think about it… Radiohead kinda blow.” Everyone’s convinced Radiohead defines the cutting edge, but Chris Norris of Spin isn’t fooled. Go to one... More »

50 Cent Fails With Self Destruct

Rapper can't quite nail a return to his glory days on new album

(Newser) - 50 Cent, once at the forefront of rap music, returns with Before I Self Destruct—but his fourth solo effort isn’t impressing the critics. “Though packed with tough beats, dense production and 50's most ferocious delivery in years, the gloats about shootings, drugs and bloody 'hoods feel about... More »

Bob Dylan's Xmas Album 'Sort of Insane'

Even so, the 'beloved iconoclast' puts together an interesting collection

(Newser) - With the announcement of Bob Dylan’s Christmas in the Heart, “smirkers got smirkier”—you try picturing Dylan singing the lyric, “How’d ya like to hang a stocking on a great big coconut tree?” without smirking—but in the end, the collection is interesting, if a... More »

Flaming Lips Back to Bizarre With Embryonic

'Sprawling' double album should please longtime fans

(Newser) - The Flaming Lips are no stranger to reinvention, having transformed “from garage-punk misfits into a splendorous, kaleidoscopic rock outfit,” then later “into a sophisticated, sincere symphonic-pop troupe bestowed with increasing commercial acclaim.” The release of Embryonic marks another sea change—and it’s the band's boldest... More »

New Jackson Single No Classic

Response to 'This Is It' tepid from critics, all over the place from fans

(Newser) - Michael Jackson’s posthumous single was released to much hype, but the critical response is lukewarm and fan reactions are mixed. A sampling:
  • In a roundup of fan comments on Michael Jackson’s website, the Times reports that while some are pleased—“This single is great, even better than
... More »

Paramore's Latest One of Year's Best

Group is a welcome 'throwback' and—thanks to Hayley Williams—soars

(Newser) - Paramore’s third album will likely enter the charts at No. 1—and it deserves to. Not only is it “the group’s best record yet,” Brand New Eyes is “one of 2009’s most exhilarating releases,” writes Jonah Weiner for Slate. “That sense of... More »

Built to Spill Back in Top Form

Formerly great indie rockers make a triumphant comeback in There Is No Enemy

(Newser) - Built to Spill went from producing “some of the most ambitious and resonant indie rock ever made” in the 1990s to “merely existing” in the 2000s. With its "unexpectedly terrific” new release There Is No Enemy, the band offers “an improbable late-career reawakening and heartening evidence... More »

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